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'Sand legs' can tip the game

August 09, 2004|Associated Press

If you plan to take up beach volleyball, you'll need to find your "sand legs."

That's not easy, but apparently millions of Americans have taken up what was once a summer pastime and is now an Olympic sport. And players needn't live at the beach.

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Assn. estimates about 7.5 million Americans play beach volleyball. Courts can be found from the Adirondacks to the desert Southwest -- alongside inland lakes, in public parks -- wherever there's room to dump some sand and set up a net.

Holly McPeak, one of four women on the two U.S. women's teams competing in the sport in Athens, offers some advice to novices:

"The most important thing for any person to do is to get acclimated to the sand," said McPeak, who at 35 recently became the most successful female player in beach volleyball history, earning her 68th title.

Jogging on the beach is a good way to build endurance, she said. Also important: core strength. She recommends crunches, sit-ups and other exercises that focus on the abdominals and lower back.

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